I have a confession: happiness is a big choice that I often forget to make.
Despite all of the yoga, despite all of the teaching, despite being someone who writes about it and runs retreats based around it and basically weaves their entire life around the pursuit of happiness, I still haven’t 110 percent bagged it.
I realize it’s challenging to read through the “I’m good/How are you’s,” and it’s hard to see through the thick fog of Facebook status updates full of gratitude declarations, inspiring quotes and a kazzilion happy snaps (we don’t call them happy snaps for nothing), but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most of us are in the same boat and it’s probably pretty normal to not be blissed out all of the time.
Having a shitty day today? Consider yourself as the norm—most people have to work at their happiness.
It’d be nice and a hell of a lot easier, if it manifested out of thin air, but as I’m sure you’ve experienced once or twice or 500, 000 times, it doesn’t.
Happiness needs to be honed and it needs to be stoked. It doesn’t just burn and burn and boil on it’s own: you have to feed the fire.
Don’t get me wrong—I’ve glimpsed that elusive little badboy happiness, yes; experienced it, yes; found it, yes, hog-tied-it-to-my-heart-so-that-the-slippery-little-fucker can’t make it’s one millionth escape—no, not yet.
That’s probably because happiness isn’t something you catch, but something you cultivate; it’s something you nourish and feed and put love into and grow. It’s a constant work in progress, not so much a constant chase.
You have to maintain your maintenance—that cup of happiness ain’t just gonna get up and fill itself. My body and heart, the two most accurate teachers I have, reminded me of that this week.
I recently suffered a back injury and following that, a severe case of laziness, leaving my practice as sporadic at best—and lets just say that the effects of that little omit have not gone unnoticed.
You can’t replace practicing what makes you feel full and connected and at ease, with something that doesn’t and expect to get the same result.
You can’t stop meditating, walking the dogs, swimming, writing, going fun a run or doing the the other regular things you do to keep yourself clear, sane and functioning and expect for the happiness you’ve built up to just ride out the drought; it doesn’t work like that.
You can’t stockpile happiness and expect it to get you through the rough times; you have to constantly restock, refill and refuel it if you expect it to keep you going.
Without some happiness flavouring your days, you end up feeling overworked, over-stressed and under-loved—and sooner than later, that little treat of letting yourself slip and slide out of your habits that keep you happy, doesn’t feel so much like a treat anymore.
You’ve gotta fill up that happiness tank of yours, with every chance you get, like it’s the last stop for petrol. Load that shit up. Pack it in. Get it wherever you can get it—in your child’s little mooring eyes, on your walk to work as you soak up the sunshine, from the nighttime sky, a warm bath, a good glass of red or an early night in, but get it.
Don’t skimp out on filling up your own cup. In fact, practice filling it up. Get good at it. Get creative with it—you may just be surprised at where you find happiness hiding.
Practice looking for the good, the beauty, the gems and the jewels—and when you find them, those little lights scattered throughout your life will shine out and bleed out, helping to fill up your cup.
Remember, it’s the little things that make life big.
The art of happiness is just like all the other arts we practice, like law, surgery, writing, being compassionate, becoming a good father, a good partner, a good friend.
These things take practice; everything worthwhile does.
Ed: Bryonie Wise
Like elephant I’m not “Spiritual. I just practice being a good person. on Facebook.
hot on elephant
July’s Full Moon in Capricorn: The Heart wants what it Wants. The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. How to Love a Woman who Scares You. Our Soulmates are Rarely Who We Expect. Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters. To the One Who Tried to Break Me. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. An Open Letter to the Fixers. How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD. How My Sister’s Death Transformed my Self-Perception.